Tuesday, September 30, 2014

wisdom from above {agenda for haiti}

"The wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, 
and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. 
It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 
And those who are peace makers will plant seeds 
of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness." 
James 3:17-18 

{taken from pat's first trip to haiti}

we leave in about 24 hours.

i've been given the above verses for this trip. they don't quite make sense to me...why they are His words to me for this trip. but i trust they will.

we've planned and packed and checked off and asked and received. and now we just GO.

there are so many ideas and opinions out there about "going" to places like this. we've read the books. we pray for wisdom... "the wisdom from above that is first of all pure" (james 3:17).

we have no desire to bring them anything we think we have that they NEED. they have Jesus. and that's all they need. the pastor that runs the orphanage and church is a Godly, wise man. he loves the children and so many in the community with God's love. he gives and gives and gives. and trusts and trusts and trusts. we are not "bringing God" to them...i actually expect to see God more clearly there than i do here in my own life.

pat began a relationship with this man 2 years ago. they've communicated by email and phone ever since. yes, our church supports them financially. but he has asked many times for pat, his friend, to come back...because he loves him. and desires to SEE him and spend time with him. he would LOVE more hands to come and play with his children (he considers them HIS CHILDREN.) he doesn't ask for ANYthing. we have to BEG him to tell us what we can bring him...because that's all we know to do. he asks for nothing for himself...only for others in the community (but pat remembers the chocolate candy that he loved...so we have LOTS of that ;-))

so...our agenda is simple. we will LOVE. whatever that looks like. each moment of each hour of each day.

no, the thousands of dollars we have spent have not been the most efficient use of our dollars. maybe it would be more "efficient" to buy them more food with that money. and not "waste" our time and money getting there to go buy them food ourselves. but maybe it's better to love well instead of be efficient. maybe it's better to let someone know that you were willing to sacrifice and walk straight into their lives no matter what it cost you. 

we leave DC wednesday afternoon. layover in charlotte. arrive in miami at 10 pm wednesday night.
get to a hotel and sleep for a few hours.
back at airport at 5 am thursday morning for a 7 am flight to port a prince, haiti.
then one last flight from port a prince to pignon, haiti - arriving around lunchtime.

we will be in pignon, at the orphange from thursday until monday morning.

then we reverse the whole thing and get home around 11 pm monday night.

prayer requests:
*for that "wisdom from above"...peace-loving, gentle, willing to yield to others, FULL of mercy and good deeds. {i think i'm beginning to see why those verses were given to me...} as we make our way through every detail of the trip
*we have to transfer from one airport THROUGH the city of port a prince {which is a bit...chaotic?!?} to another airport WITH all our huge, heavy bags of stuff we're bringing to them. there is one gift we are MOST wanting to get there safely and MOST concerned that it will...pray that it gets there?
*that we would be an encouragement to the pastor and his wife.
*that we would love the children WELL.
*our junior high youth pastor is part of our team. he is coming to discern whether bringing teams of jr high kids might be possible or helpful. for wisdom in that.
*for health and sleep and safety
*for our children at home (and 1 spouse!) - there are 11 children our team is leaving behind...that's a lot of little hearts and a lot of big emotions!

THANK YOU for joining us in this. your emails and comments have meant so much. i look forward to sharing what God does! i'm expecting BEAUTIFUL things...because that's who our God is!

we won't have ANY cell service while we're gone...so no updates...but i'm honestly looking forward to just BEING in the moment and giving all i have to whatever and whoever God puts before me.

Monday, September 29, 2014

happy birthday, granddad!

we got to get together with pat's family to celebrate his dad's birthday (and colin's birthday!) it's always fun to get together with family. we are so blessed to have them all so close to us!

sunday brunch

i forget exactly how the idea of having sunday brunch began in my mind.
i wish it was just to enjoy cooking in my amazing kitchen with my amazing kids on an amazing morning. 
but i know there were many motives. (that one included!)

pat and joshua were going to be gone. we are usually gone from 8:30 am - 12:45 pm on sundays for church. i love so many things about our church. so so many. but it's always hard for me...for my introverted self. i come home completely DONE. either exhausted from trying to put on that "sunday face" most people want to see. or exhausted from being real with people and opening up my wounds.

this particular sunday, i also had a baby shower that afternoon...and we had a birthday dinner celebration for pat's dad. i just knew i couldn't handle that whole long morning at church.

rebekah LOVES youth group and it's at the second service. so i knew we'd skip the first service and go to the second. this means sleeping in (yay!) and a slower morning. and she LOVES to cook and help me with stuff like this...so i knew she'd love it.

we are going camping in a month with some friends and i wanted to test some recipes for that...to get a little braver with our food that weekend. {see? i'm being brave all OVER the place ;-)}

and i'm about to leave my kids for a big trip. so it was a little guilt induced bribery or something? like, "when i've deserted you for 6 days, remember how i made you donuts AND poppyseed bread with sugar drizzled all over it?"

i already had 10 million lists and grocery lists going all over. seemed like i NEEDED something else to plan for and make another grocery list for ;-)

so. there you have it. MANY reasons for choosing to create a yummy brunch for us on sunday morning!
donuts. just biscuits fried in oil. SUPER healthy. {i had none. and it took no self-control so it's nothing to be proud of. i poured an ENTIRE container of oil in that pot and that's all it took.}
 then you shake the donuts in a bag of cinnamon/sugar mixture.
 wha-la! kids LOVED them.

 but that almond poppyseed bread?? totally my weakness. i had some. yes, yes i did.
it really was a glorious morning. windows open. music blaring (pat doesn't like it loud. but he wasn't here. so it was LOUD.) these people are so precious.
i was feeling so good. like it was such a beautiful morning. then i had bailey take this picture of rebekah and i..."the chefs". and realized, UGH. maybe bailey would have wanted to help in the kitchen?? she was playing so WELL and happily with the other boys the whole time, i never thought to ask her. but shesagirlandneedstolearntolovetocooktoo! ivetotallymessedupandneglectedher. ohno!! then i spiraled all the way to church...aren't our minds CRAZY?!?
 but He was so gracious to me. when i went to look at my pictures of the morning. this was the picture that my phone showed me first. it was from this past friday evening. while we were waiting for lincoln and sawyer's football game to start. bailey asked me to play cards with her. i said, "yes." we plopped down on the field and just played. it's so hard to get it right all the time with all of them. but i do know that i'm doing my best. every moment. every day. that's all i got. and i put the rest in His hands. and trust that it's enough. TRULY.
{and next time i HOPE i remember to at least ask her if she wants to help make brunch...}

trusting this plan

the decision was made for Pat and I to put this trip to haiti in motion 10 months ago {when this photo was taken.}

we are headed to the pastor (and his orphanage) that pat visited 2 years ago. since that time, our church has been supporting them financially on a monthly basis. but it's hard to communicate well. we feel like we need to GO and SEE and HEAR face to face. so we are.

my first answer was, "no." it was during the same season that this {adorable} kid was causing all kinds of havoc in our hearts and home that eventually led to us pulling him out of school. i couldn't imagine how saying, "yes" would be a good, or right, thing. my fear (and wanting to be "in control") took over.

but then i prayed about it.

and He said, "yes." so i said, "yes."

and we've never looked back.

there are 5 of us going on this trip. it was "supposed" to be 6, but 1 is growing a baby in her body and needs to take good care of herself here.

so that's how this trip began to be. i'll share more about our agenda tomorrow :-)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

prepping for haiti

it is a lot of details to get ready for this trip to haiti.

we aren't going with an organization or anything. so it's all us. every detail.

here's all the stuff i'm PRAYING makes it through to the other side (and back!)
nearly every day someone brings clothes or money for the precious children there. this picture was from ONE DAY. the money will go straight from our hands...to the market in their village to buy food...to their table...to their bellies. THANK YOU. it's so beautiful how much God loves them...just look how He's providing for them! when Pat was there last time, the pastor told us that he has NO monthly supporters. he trusts that God will provide. and He always does.
weighing the bags...i need to get some muscles...FAST!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

if this was what fall was like...

i could handle it! ;-)

80 degrees. sunny. so we headed to the farm. and soaked it ALL up!
 pat and joshua are gone for the weekend. but we weren't too miserable...
 look at that SKY!

 and then rebekah took my camera.

 we asked levi to take a picture of us with my phone...
 so i had to take matters into my own hands.
they have these AMAZING donuts there. i got us all one. and i ate 3 bites only. that is some SERIOUS self-control! i know the kids love it when i join in with them for special things like that. but i also know it might hurt my stomach...and since i was parenting solo, i couldn't risk that.
 we were heading to the car, and spotted these hula hoops. the kids LOVED that i tried it. i was AWFUL at it. {and had no idea rebekah was taking pictures! sneaky...}

 sawyer was AMAZING at it! kept that thing going for a LONG time!

 and this was what joshua was doing...also having a blast of a day!
i think we'll all sleep good tonight!

Friday, September 26, 2014

around here

i'm still trying to get to a place where this new school routine (i.e. i NEVER leave my house or see anyone other than my kids all.day.long) is normal. and ok with me.

so ALL these pictures are IN my house. {actually one is not! but we'll get there.}

joshua is all about CARD TRICKS. all day. every day. "hey mom. can i do a card trick to you?" yes. absolutely! what is this? card trick #4723?? :)

fruit flies are out of control. a friend posted this trick to kill them on instagram. i had it working within minutes. apple cider vinegar. saran wrap over top of the cup. hold it on with a hair tie. poke a smallish hole in the top of the saran wrap. they will fly down in there and drown their little pesky selves.
this is it! i got OUT! had an hour after dropping rebekah off and needing to pick her up. but it wasn't worth going home. so i went around the corner to panera. got a tea. it's super sad how excited i was for this time. and i seriously have book issues. i brought ALL of these in case i might have time to read and i wouldn't know WHICH ONE i'd feel like reading. but my first goal was making a menu and grocery list. not just for next week. but for next week (half of which we'll be in haiti and my in-laws will be at my house). PLUS the following week (half of which we'll be in haiti and my in-laws will be at my house.) PLUS a weekend later in october when we're going camping and i'm planning the meals and want to do some trial runs before we go. so. i never got to the books :( but i DID get all those lists made!
levi was eating an apple for lunch. he almost ate a seed. i joked with him, "don't eat a seed! an apple tree will grow in your belly!" lincoln pipes up, "no it won't. it needs food, water and light to grow." ha! (we just learned that together!) teaching these 2 AND being their mom has it's challenges, but it's pretty sweet, too!
what did we do before phones that we could check to see if we had our lunch in our teeth while walking up to school pickup??
i'm trying to say YES more than NO (or "later" or "in a minute"). she asked me to do this to her hair. i said, YES.
i can't get to the gym like i used to in the mornings because we're doing school together. so they are my weights.

we have NO MORE TRAINING WHEELS! whoo-hoo!!
my hair was looking ROUGH. i have tons of gray (have for YEARS) that i usually dye with a $7 box of hair color from walmart. between all the sun and chlorine and cheap hair color from this past summer, it was looking NOT very natural and all kinds of weird colors.

so i got it colored by a person in a shop for the first time in my LIFE. {a barber shop...but she's really good! and still somewhat cheaper than any salon around here}. i like it a lot better. but will be going back to the $7 box when those grays come back in...maybe once a year i'll get it "fixed"?? who knows.